Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene. Masha Gessen. Review: Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier by Masha GessenHilary Rose finds hope and caution in a thoughtful survey of. Aged 37, a seemingly healthy Masha Gessen is advised to cut off her breasts and remove her ovaries. Living in the shadow of her mother’s.

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Blood Matters is broken into three parts: In the final part she wraps up with where the science of genetics is going and who is driving these advances.

BLOOD MATTERS by Masha Gessen | Kirkus Reviews

In the first, Gessen describes her family’s challenges with their inherited diseases, and inquires how these hereditary diseases get passed down in the first gessenn. Return mattegs Book Page. No trivia or quizzes yet. It’s true that over-egging the potential health benefits of genetic research has been a constant problem, from the launch of the human genome project and the unqualified claims of what gene therapy could do: I wish Gessen had more to say about PGD and the reproductive politics surrounding these issues, though.

There is a chilling moment when the one adviser who does agree that surveillance can be effective expresses strong doubts whether any insurance company would cover treatment. As Gessen wrestles with decision-making, the text increasingly leans toward a deterministic view of genetic destiny: Aug 02, Pilar rated it it was ok.


Sometimes they were health related things not really connected to ggessen main questions about genetics, like in her quick survey of the history of eugenics in the U. Only in her extended account of the country doctor who saves Mormon children whose inbreeding has led to crippling or lethal genetic disorders does her gentle scepticism weaken.

Mar 28, Jen rated it really liked it. In this section Gessen gets more deeply into the cruel variety of hereditary diseases and how these diseases shape bllod lives of those who have them.

Starts as a memoir and cycled through history and the innovations in genetic medicine. A little disjointed though. As she wrestled with a wrenchin In genetic testing revealed that Masha Gessen had a mutation that predisposed her to ovarian and breast cancer. I was so excited that this book was as accessible as it was. It is not that she doesn’t mention the setbacks and the partial recoveries, but the hope is strong – and who with any feeling for such children and their families wouldn’t hope?

Gessen is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, and this group has been particularly afflicted with hereditary disease; this seems particularly poignant since the topic of genetic testing immediately brings up distasteful connotations of eugenicism and Nazi thinking.

She also includes chapters on families with a wide variety of genetic diseases and information on the current science of preventing and dealing with these diseases. This is more than a simple testimony from a patient suffering from a cancer and, her odyssey to better grasp her condition through the lense of medical science.


And are there effective therapies?

Aug 28, Alison rated it liked it. Topics Science and nature books. Some may find this last suggestion rather hard to believe; it was not made by a tabloid newspaper, but by an editorial in the leading US journal Science. To help her decide whether and how to act on this knowledge, Gessen researches the history of genetic disease and genetic testing, and visits many scientists, past and present patients, and their families. Biology and history are here intertwined with ethics so as to question, bluntly and without passion the impact of our understanding of genetics so far.

Does she want to know? She is quite mean but mostly keeps the bite under wraps.

Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier

Sep 26, Laura Gilbert rated it liked it. It is easy to read because it feels like you’re working with a friendc to work through some personal issues, but a lot of the scientific evidenceis right there and researched for you. Please provide an email address.

There is much discussion of Ashkenazi Jews and their genetic load of diseases, as well as the genetic problems of other groups. Gezsen Ester and Ruzya: Sarah Steed rated it really liked it Aug 07, In such tough situations we all have to find how to make such a decision.